On 30 September 2008 I joined a jovial bunch of fellow Fitzroy residents at the Napier hotel to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the founding of Fitzroy. Yarra Council’s Socialist Party Councillor Steve Jolly spoke about the official celebration happening across the road at the Town Hall and what an exclusive undemocratic event it was.
The 400 unnamed guests at the Town Hall were provided with food, drink and entertainment worth thousands of dollars paid for by ratepayers. No event was held for the residents. It was a waste of money and a corrupt abuse of power and responsibility.
Jolly made enquiries about the cost of the event and was told it was about $9000. After making some independent pricing enquiries about the costs for individual aspects of the event, such hiring a string quartet, the amount left over for food and drink was about $8 per person.
From my experience in events management I know that events like this require at least $50 a head for basic alcoholic drinks and nibbles and the staff to prepare and serve it. It is apparent that the $9000 figure is a significant underrepresentation of the true cost of the event and further evidence that Yarra Council is wasting money, failing to provide transparent information about its actions and lying to the public.
A photographer (I’m not sure where from – perhaps the Leader or the Melbourne Times) took some photos of Steve talking and with a group of us in the pub raising our beer glasses to Fitzroy. Naturally, everyone paid for their own food and drink.
After the talk a visiting friend from Sydney and I enjoyed a very satisfying meal from the excellent Napier kitchen. Above is my fish (flathead tails) and chips and below is her kangaroo, which was tender and delicious. Once I got home I realised that we had accidentally ordered the same two meals that my girlfriend and I had ordered recently at the Rose hotel. I could not say which pub is best – both produce great food at very reasonable prices.